Prior to the Nuggets-Timberwolves matchup tonight at 6 p.m. MST on ESPN, Roundball Mining Company was lucky enough to catch up with current ESPN analyst and three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen. In our brief interview Bowen discusses the value of JaVale McGee, being patient with Brian Shaw and which starting point guard has the edge between Ty Lawson and Ricky Rubio.
1. Kenneth Faried’s defense isn’t always stellar. Against premier power forwards like Kevin Love, how much does it hurt the Nuggets and how much does his energy on the glass make up for it?
This is where the loss of JaVale McGee will hurt them. A big part of what they do is based around him now, especially on the defensive end. Now it takes not just saying, hey, Kevin Love rebounds the basketball really well. Turn, face and put a body on him. Make sure he’s not able to get around you for those rebounds. It’s not something that everybody wants to do but it’s something that is necessary if you want to start moving in the right direction with that ball club.
2. How much of tonight’s outcome will hinge on point guard play? And which point guard is better right now, Ty Lawson or Ricky Rubio?
I think it’s going to go to Ty Lawson because Ty Lawson is able to take over games as far as scoring. I love the fact that Ricky Rubio plays within his strengths, and that’s assisting guys, getting out on the fast break, finding an open man in scoring position. But until he’s able to necessarily take over a game scoring wise, I think we’re always going to say that he’s lacking the one thing. Not many guys can dominate a game quite like Jason Kidd could. Jason Kidd wasn’t necessarily known as the most offensive but he could score and he defended, so Ricky Rubio has a great upside but there’s a lot of things you can still point to as far as him being able to get better as he continues on in the NBA.
3. If the Nuggets are able to win tonight and get to .500 after starting the season 0-3, what will that say about Brian Shaw as a young head coach?
I think it’s unfair to judge a coach after six games, period. You have to give coaches time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Teams coming together – J.J. Hickson who is there new this year. There’s a lot of new players in Denver under new coaching. Kenneth Faried is no longer under the management of the former coach, George Karl. So now, you have to erase your memory and start to accept the different philosophies of what Brian Shaw is bringing to that team. You don’t see that in six games. We didn’t see it with the Miami Heat when LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami to join Dwyane Wade. We didn’t see it instantaneously. We have to be patient. We have to give him time to allow him to really get his feet wet and also to have a stamp of what his philosophy is on that ball club.